Right in the province of Capiz, is a third class municipality specifically called Panay. This town was once the capital of the province as established by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi in the Spanish era. But in the present times, the place has become a tourist destination because of its most popular church - the Santa Monica Parish Church.
Santa Monica Parish Church houses the largest church bell in Asia - named by the locals as Dakong Lingganay. The original facade and structure of the church was designed by Fr. Miguel Murguia in 1774. A strong typhoon damaged houses and even the church in 1875. The church was rebuilt and still stands up to date.
A National Cultural Treasure
The church was protected by a national resolution, the National Historical Institute Resolution No. 3. And in 2001, it was declared by the National Museum to be a National Cultural Treasure.
Inside the Santa Monica Parish Church
Inside the church, walls made up of cemented coral stones will amaze you. Its pillars have arching window designs with columns that tend to mimic the European carvings. Various saint statues are also found inside such as Saint Thomas, Saint Agustin, and Saint Monica. All these statues are situated on the crannies of the church walls.
As mentioned above, the Dakong Lingganay or the “big bell” was built using 70 sacks of coins which were donated by the town people in the historic Spanish era. To be exact, the said bell is 7 feet in diameter, 5 feet in height and 23, 000 pounds in weight.
Right at the top of the five-story belfry of the church, the original bell is situated. A replica was made and it was placed in the church compound, near the Museo de Santa Monica.
In the corners of the church, various posters are also displayed. It was written there that the people of Panay were the first ones to be evangelized in the entire island. This happened when Fray Martin de Rada preached inside the church in 1566.
An old Spanish well can also be seen at the back of the church. Surprisingly, water is still present in the well but it was not currently used by the people.
|The Philippines' and Asia's largest bell|
|Museo de Santa Monica right beside the Panay Church|
HOW TO GET THERE
If you are from Manila, you can book a flight going to Caticlan or Kalibo. After that, head to Iloilo through the Ceres bus and stop at the Sigma bus stop. This will cost you around PHP 215 if you came from Caticlan. If you came from Kalibo, it will only cost you PHP 107. Next, you can ride a bus that is bound to Roxas or you can opt to ride a jeep from Sigma.
Arriving in Roxas City, you can ride a tricycle that heads to Panay. This will cost you PHP 15 per person. But if you have a private vehicle or renting a van, you can stop at Pontevedra and drop off in Panay.